In this installment of “Discovering Discovery,” we will cover some advanced search features. Discovery allows patrons to search using Boolean operators, wildcard and truncation, and quotation marks, among other functions.
Boolean operators allow you to define relationships between words. Operators include the terms AND, OR, and NOT.
- AND – combines search terms so the result will contain all of the terms. For example, fish AND bubbles will return items containing both terms, fish and bubbles.
- OR – combines search terms so that the result will contain at least one term. For example, fish OR bubbles will return items containing either term, fish or bubbles.
- NOT – combines search terms so that the search result will not contain the term that follows it. For example, fish NOT bubbles will return items containing the term fish but not the term bubbles.
Boolean operators are built in to the advanced search function of Discovery. You can select the appropriate operator from the dropdown menu:
Or type the operator into the search box:
The wildcard symbol, represented as a question mark (?), allows you to modify searches to account for unknown characters. Using the wildcard (?) in place of a letter results in a search for all characters that could fit in that position to make a word. For example, sh?rk will return items such as “shirk” and “shark”:
The truncation symbol, represented by an asterisk (*), allows you to modify searches to account for multiple spellings or different endings. Using truncation (*) will enable you to find all forms of a given word. To use truncation, enter the root of the term and replace the ending with *. For example, searching ichthyo* will find terms, such as ichthyornis, ichthyosauria, and ichthyology:
Quotation marks allow you to limit your searches to exact phrases. While the search fish bubbles will return results containing items with fish and bubbles in them, the search “fish bubbles” will only return articles with “fish bubbles” occurring directly next to each other:
In the next installment of “Discovering Discovery,” we will cover proximity searching and the use of parentheses to create meta-searches, as well as discuss how you can refine your search results.